Best African Burial Ground Turned Into a Bus Depot (2010)

an MTA bus depot in Harlem

The African Burial Ground near Foley Square is now a national park, treated with great reverence and respect. But what is not very well known is that there's another burial ground underneath an MTA bus depot in Harlem. Activists became concerned when this first became known, as the MTA was digging to build new ramps for the Willis Avenue Bridge, at First Avenue between 126th and 127th. According to a task force organized at the Elmendorf Reformed Church, which owned the location, there are ancient records showing that whites and blacks were buried there, and that the whites were dug up and moved elsewhere—but the blacks never were. The MTA is investigating the site for the possibility of remains, but activists fear—much as things unfolded downtown at the sister burial ground, or at the World Trade Center, where a 200-year-old ship was recently damaged during construction—that in its haste, the agency may disturb or destroy the remains of the deceased.


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